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Thursday, 13 February, 2003, 00:28 GMT
Arsenal end Oxford dream
Edu (left) and Dennis Bergkamp
Edu (left) congratulates century-maker Bergkamp
Arsenal 2-0 Oxford

Dennis Bergkamp's 100th goal for Arsenal set the FA Cup holders on their way to a comfortable victory against Oxford in the third round.

The U's had a Steve Basham effort ruled out for offside after two minutes, but that proved to be a rare sight of the Arsenal goal for the Third Division club.

Arsenal's pace, passing and movement had Oxford constantly on the backfoot and a Scott McNiven own goal after 67 minutes ended the visitors' hopes.

Key moments
1 min: Steve Basham goal for Oxford disallowed
15: Bergkamps puts Arsenal ahead
67: McNiven own goal ends Oxford's hopes

Any inkling that Oxford might be able to temporarily overcome the gap of two divisions between the two teams and cause an upset only seemed possible for all of the first minute.

U's striker Basham put the ball into the Gunners net but his effort was ruled out for offside.

Manager Ian Atkins' players tried to muster some sort of threat to catch Arsenal out early on but the Double winners heeded the warning of the disallowed goal.

Oxford came here not to be punished by five or six goals and they stuck to that plan very wel

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

Arsenal began to dominate possession and inevitably took the lead when Bergkamp struck after 15 minutes.

Oxford had conceded only two goals in an unbeaten eight-game run coming into the fixture.

But Francis Jeffers unlocked their defence when he slotted the ball into Bergkamp's path, and the Dutchman finished in typically clinical fashion.

Bergkamp evades the challenge of Oxford's Steve Basham
Bergkamp evades the challenge of Oxford's Steve Basham

Jeffers should have made it two when he was put through on goal by Edu, but U's keeper Andy Woodman blocked the shot with his legs.

Strike partners Jeffers and Bergkamp put further efforts over the bar as the game became almost exclusively played in the Oxford half.

We gave it our best shot but their work-rate off the ball was absolutely frightening

Oxford United manager Ian Atkins
The Gunners were without Sol Campbell, Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry, Ashley Cole and Fredrik Ljungberg but still had too much quality for their opponents.

The introduction of self-proclaimed Gunners fan and Oxford striker Jefferson Louis in the second half had little impact on the match.

Yet, despite Arsenal's dominance, they could not find a second and provided a glimmer of hope to their opponents.

The 6,000 visiting fans clung on to the unlikely prospect of an equaliser before their dreams were extinguished on 67 minutes.

Robert Pires swung a corner into the Oxford area and McNiven could not react in time as the ball struck him before going into the net.


Arsenal: Seaman, Luzhny, Keown, Upson, van Bronckhorst, Toure (Bentley 77), Svard (Silva 77), Edu, Pires, Jeffers, Bergkamp (Wiltord 80).
Subs Not Used: Taylor, Stepanovs.

Oxford Utd: Woodman, McNiven, Savage (Scott 64), Crosby, Waterman, Robinson, Ford, Hunter, Bound, Oldfield (Louis 54), Basham (Steele 84).
Subs Not Used: Whitehead, Sall.

Booked: Ford, Robinson, Waterman.

Att: 35,432

Referee: C Wilkes (Gloucestershire).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's David Croft
"A stroll in the park for Arsenal"

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